It’s starting again!

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Take me to a place where the dead roam the Earth and the living float above them.

Word of the day: Aeriform – gaseous or unreal

Weather: wash out!

Mood: sun dried!

 

I got up this morning to find Hamoudi looking miserable in the kitchen. He was making a tower out of clothes pegs and sighing. The pegs kept pinging across the room.

‘What’s up, champ?’ I asked.

‘I think it’s starting again,’ he said.

My ears pricked up and I had to hide my eagerness behind a veil of concern.

‘Seeing ghosts?’ I whispered.

‘Maybe,’ he said, the peg tower shot a pink peg under the fridge and then collapsed. He started again.

‘What do you mean by maybe?’ I asked, trying to not get tetchy, because seriously, he likes to drag things out. He figured out a method with his building, creating a triangle with three pegs.

‘When I was at the station yesterday, I saw this movement out the corner of my eye. A red cap, and blue jeans. I think it was a small boy. Then he was gone, just vanished.’

‘Well, if it was busy…’

‘And last night, I woke up and he was standing at the end of my bed. The same clothes, red cap, blue jeans. But his eyes were hollow, staring at me.’

‘Did you recognise him? Did you speak to him?’

‘No.’ He puts another layer on the tower, and it stays upright, but this doesn’t make him happy.

‘I left Canada to get away from all this,’ he says. ‘What if they’ve followed me here?’

It would be cruel to point out that if there are dead people wandering around Canada, they are probably  everywhere. I pat his shoulder and the peg tower falls down again. Sympathetic though I am, I’m also pretty excited about this development. If there are ghosts in our flat, I wonder if I’ll be able to see them. Maybe Hamoudi can introduce us. That would change everything.

Murder and the drama llama

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I took this photo by the river in Waterloo. According to a guy there, many bones lie scattered on the beach. It isn’t connected to the cat, but kind of fits with the mood.

Mood: I don’t even know

Weather: drizzly

Word of the day: Cataplexy – condition feigning death used by animals

The police came by to see the cat’s head. They deny it’s murder, since the famous Croydon cat-killer is a case considered solved, and that the killer never existed. ‘Could this be a different cat-killer?’ I asked. ‘No,’ the policeman said firmly. However, we still have a body-less head that looks to have been cut with a knife. I feel like we should do investigating of our own. But where could we even start? I’m sure I had a book about how to be a detective as a kid but I don’t remember any of it now.

Saw Hamoudi in the kitchen. He seemed pretty cheerful, not seeing dead people or receiving gifts from strangers. He was wailing about his lack of vegetables so I offered him a tin of sweetcorn I’ve had sitting in my cupboard for some time. He explained  he can’t eat yellow food – not pasta, yellow peppers, nor chips, and not sweetcorn. When I asked why he said yellow food always caught in his throat. He demonstrated with choking retching sounds. I’m starting to suspect he might be a little bit of a drama llama.

All in a day’s work…

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A pretty Melianthus flower to offset the disturbing blog

Miss Marple probably was a murderer.

Word of the day: psychagogue – conductor of souls to the underworld

Weather: blue skies

Mood: pensive

Bit of a grim day at work today. Jessica found a cat’s head in the kid’s playground. It looked severed rather than eaten. She threw it in the bin, but it turns out the police want to see it in case it’s murder. So work has gone a bit Rosemary and Thyme, for those who don’t know that’s a detective duo who work as gardeners, but keep discovering dead bodies. (Why nobody ever pegs these amateur sleuths surrounded by murders as the ones responsible, I have no idea.) Anyway, I’m pretty sure Jessica wasn’t responsible for the decapitated cat, but I’ll keep an eye on her.

At home, tensions haven’t ended, with snapping and glares between Jinjing and Neville. Neville’s sudden painting of the hallway left a few green footprints on the stairs, and he half-painted the skirting board.

‘Why even do it if you’re not going to do it properly?’ Jinjing said. She is mortally offended by his ineptness. I’m used to ineptness, it doesn’t really bother me.

Destiny? Or pseudo-mystical nonsense?

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Word of the day: Athanor – an alchemist’s self-feeding digesting furnace

Weather: grey

Mood: ho hum

I woke up in a bad mood, and it has hung around me like a buzzy fly all day. I cornered Hamoudi, he-who-sees-dead-people, while he was eating cereal. I made no pretence of politeness.

‘So what did the mysterious woman say? In the café?’

He wiped the milk off his chin, leaned over our small kitchen table and said intensely,

‘She said all the strange things happening to me, weren’t happening by chance. That I was on a path and nothing could stop that journey.’ This sounded kind of cheesy and vague to me, but maybe I’m just jealous.

‘So why leave?’

‘Because it wasn’t a good path. She didn’t go into specifics, but she made it sound like I was heading into trouble. She said I had to be careful who I trusted. I’m no good at that! I trust everybody!’

‘But if it’s all true,’ I said, ‘surely coming to London is part of the path as well. You can’t abandon destiny by moving.’ He looked at me blankly, and then alarmed, so I changed the subject. We talked about the ongoing battle between Jinjing and Neville.

‘She won’t let it go,’ he said, ‘when she thinks someone’s wrong, she keeps at it. She’s like a terrier.’

Oh good, the drama continues then.

And I’ve thought about it, I’m definitely jealous. I want to be told I’m on a path by a mysterious stranger, even a bad path, rather than wandering aimlessly and ending up lost all the time. Does that make me naive?

More of Hamoudi’s story

 

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Word of the day: kinkens – (scots) to give an evasive answer to an inquisitive child

Weather: larvely

Mood: driven mad by curiosity

Went out for a walk and came home to find Neville painting the hallway a new shade of green. Seems he’s decided to respond to Jinjing’s complaints by redecorating. I suggested that she’d prefer it if he cleaned the toilet, but he huffed at me and carried on. I guess he’s making a point, but I find making a point is as effective as leaving cleaning products around as a hint.

Joined Hamoudi and Jinjing in the garden. Our garden gets a patch of sun that moves across the grass, so they were making the most of it, shifting out of the shadows as they crept up, a slow game of chase. I asked the usual polite questions, before steering Hamoudi around to why he left Canada.

‘You said something happened, aside from seeing dead people, that is,’ I said, nonchalantly, hiding that I’ve been obsessing about this since he mentioned it last week. I picked a daisy for Jinjing, who was making a chain.

Hamoudi sighed, looked at the sun and sneezed.

‘It was weird, it was like there was a light on me, a flashing arrow above my head. Strangers kept coming up to me. At first it was small, a kid gave me a marble, this old lady patted me on the arm when we were waiting at the side of the road to cross. Stuff like that.’

‘Ah right,’ I said. Hamoudi shrugged, he’s a huge man, so he shrugs effectively, like a mountain lifting.

‘Then one night I couldn’t sleep, so I went out to this café and got myself a coffee. This woman came up and sat opposite me. I remember the café owner looked over with a look of You ok with this strange woman who just sat down with you in a deserted café? And then the woman started talking. She said, “You know what’s happening, don’t you?”’

At that point, the back door slammed and locked shut. I guess Neville had finished painting and wanted to make another point. It’s at times like that you learn you’re no good at picking locks. Eventually we got back inside (which involved kicking the door really hard, turns out it isn’t very secure), but by then the conversation was forgotten. So now I shall have to obsess again.

 

Friday night fight

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Word of the day: nu tog fan bofinken (Swedish) – now that’s done it! Literally the devil took the chaffinch

Weather: beautiful

Mood: querulous

A gorgeous day at work, filled with sun and weeds. But when I got home I couldn’t go to my room because Jinjing and Neville were having a huge row in front of it. I hid in the kitchen, where Hamoudi was also hiding. We shared my popcorn and listened to the shouting. It seemed the argument had started when the cleaning products Jinjing had left outside Neville’s room had been moved to the side by Neville, with no attempt at using them. To be fair he might not have understood the message and thought they got left by accident.

However, once he knew that cleaning was the issue, he said that he saw no reason to do more housework, since he already did quite enough cleaning in the kitchen. When Jinjing asked him to specify what, it turned out he meant cleaning the burnt fat off the cooker after cooking bacon, sausages, burgers and assorted meat products. Jinjing said that didn’t count.

Then Jinjing called Neville a ‘spoilt little boy’ and Neville called Jinjing an ‘utter child’. And they both slammed their doors. Hamoudi and I shared out the last of the popcorn and I went to my room. I had to climb over the mop and bucket to get inside.

The best laid plans of mice…

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‘Aw look at his little snuffly nose!’

‘Argh! Get it away from me! It’s a monster!’

 

Weather: grey skies later dissipating into a Simpson’s sky.

Mood: alright.

Word of the day: teratogenic – producing monsters or abnormal growth

Today the mice came out to play and were darting around under the benches in the smoking area. With much shouting, Mike climbed onto the bench and refused to put his feet down until it was time to leave. Mateo was throwing down a few crumbs left over from lunch. He thinks we should fatten the mice up and have a roast. I suggested we get a cat.

Back home Jinjing left a load of cleaning products outside Neville’s room, the mop, the bucket, floor cleaner. Hamoudi was standing about looking doleful. This feels like the beginning of a war. I made sure to stock up on snacks so I can stay in my room if need be. I’ve been hiding in my room since, Neville should be home soon.

So cats eat blossom?

 

 

bigger cat

These pictures show my neighbour’s ginger cat, sitting in a small tree, licking the blossom. He was up there for ages, shuffling about, slurping away. Very odd. Have any of you seen this before?

‘Sometimes even the wrong train takes you to the right station.’

The Lunchbox.

Weather: sunny

Mood: good

Word of the day: Cowcat – person whose function is to occupy space

Coming home tonight, all trains going my way were cancelled. So I just grabbed the first train leaving the station and tried to work out where it was going by looking it up on my phone. There were signs up – on the platform, in the train, but they all said different stops to each other, so that didn’t help. My phone stuttering in its connection wasn’t ideal. Then the tannoy announced ‘Ignore all the signs saying where this train is going. They’re all wrong! This train is going to mumble mumble mumble.’ So that didn’t help either. I made it home by sheer luck. You’d think that train companies would have learned how to deal with a crisis by now.

Jinjing and Hamoudi were in the kitchen cooking up soup. I made some toast, hoping that Hamoudi would elaborate on the dead people tales. Instead I listened to Jinjing slagging off Neville because he never cleans up after himself and leaves plates of meat lying around for days.

‘I mean, has he ever done any cleaning since he’s been here?’ asked Jinjing. Hamoudi nodded, keeping his head low as if he could duck beneath the anger. Anyway I got a bowl of soup out of it.

cat in tree

Duel identity

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Before today, I hadn’t noticed the fruits of an Elaeagnus. They’re like jewels.

Weather: Sun and hail happening at the same time, that should mean a magical rainbow, but there was NOTHING.

Mood: a bit dazed

Word of the day:  Aceldama   (n)  site or scene of violence or bloodshed

Last night the bathroom light cord wouldn’t switch on, no matter how I pinged it, so I had to clean my teeth in the dark and then wait until this morning to see if I’d sprayed toothpaste everywhere.

Got to spend the day with Mateo today, he always avoids me when we walk the same way to the tube station, so I assumed he didn’t like me much. It turns out he’s generally reluctant to talk to anyone, but once he relaxed a bit we got on well. He looks like a weathered Leonard Cohen and can build anything out of anything. If we find a bit of metal tubing or a sheet of plastic dumped in the gardens, our boss will say, ‘Take that back to Matee-o [how everyone pronounces his name] he can build something with it.’

Anyway, today we were building a climbing frame for Clematis out of some packing crates. Went pretty well in that nothing collapsed and it looked smart at the end. I also got to hear Mateo ‘s story. I started by asking him if his name is really pronounced Matee-o , which is what everyone seems to call him. He said no, ‘it’s pronounced Azider’.

‘Ah,’ I said, ‘of course.’

Turns out that he’s a Basque separatist, and grew up under the oppression of the Spanish. Not allowed to speak his own language in the schools, not allowed to have his own name on any official documents, so officially he is Mateo, but it isn’t his name. He reckons Azider is too difficult to pronounce for English folk, so keeps it simple (even though we can’t get Mateo right either).

His teenage years were spent in and out of prison because of fighting with the police. To him it was a war, to the government, they were terrorists.

(The conflict ended in 2011)

Another chat with Neville

 

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I’m not ready for this kind of commitment! I have Netflix to watch!

Weather: beautiful sunshine, HAIL! beautiful sunshine

Mood: yellow with a splash of blue

Phrase of the day: vrane su mu popile mozak (Croatian) he’s crazy. Literally meaning ‘cows have drunk his brain’.

I decided to take the plunge again and be sociable. I went into the kitchen where I met Neville for the second time. He was cooking sausages (I wonder what happened to all the bacon.) We got into a conversation about the whole Brexit Bollocks. It was a good exchange of views at first, but then he started telling me the history of the EU, with all the dates, who started it, why, who else got involved, why etc. I didn’t really need to know all this.

I interjected with a wrong fact (I thought Switzerland was in the EU, I was just trying to get him to stop) and so he began to list every country that’s a member.

Ok, so I tried to change the subject, but he started listing every country that wanted to be in the EU, but wasn’t. And then countries that had entered or left. At that point I edged my way out of the kitchen to end the conversation, but he just couldn’t seem to pick up on the cue. I had to close the door while he was still speaking or I’d have ended up digging my grave in the kitchen. Or his. He may still be there now, listing things he knows. This is why I don’t cook.